Yehudi Wyner, pianist
composer, pianist, conductor, and music educator
2006 Pulitzer Prize for Music

Yehudi Wyner is a counterexample, a grounded musician whose music does not breathe the rarefied air of a lonely garret but rather revels in the sheer physicality of performance and the rush of communicating with a live audience…His works are vital and capacious, often finding fresh ways of wedding extremely visceral expression with a refined sense of craft. - Eichler, The Boston Globe, 2009

Awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for his Piano Concerto, "Chiavi in mano", Yehudi Wyner (born 1929) is one of America's most distinguished musicians. His compositions include over 80 works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo voice and solo instruments, piano, chorus, and music for the theater, as well as liturgical services for worship. He has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, The Boston Symphony, The BBC Philharmonic, The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, The Library of Congress, The Ford Foundation, The Koussevitzky Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Fromm Foundation, and Worldwide Concurrent Premieres among others. His recording "The Mirror" on Naxos won a 2005 Grammy Award, his Piano Concerto, "Chiavi in mano" on Bridge Records was nominated for a 2009 Grammy, and his Horntrio (1997) was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Other honors received include two Guggenheim Fellowships, The Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Rome Prize, and The Brandeis Creative Arts Award. In1998 Mr. Wyner was awarded the Elise Stoeger Prize given by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for "lifetime contribution to chamber music." He is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Yehudi Wyner has also had an active career as a solo pianist, chamber musician collaborating with notable vocal and instrumental colleagues, teacher, director of two opera companies, and conductor of numerous chamber and vocal ensembles in a wide range of repertory. Keyboard artist of the Bach Aria Group since 1968, he has played and conducted many of the Bach cantatas, concertos and motets. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center from 1975-97. He has been composer-in-residence at Civitella Ranieri (2009), the Eastman School of Music (2008), Vassar College (2007), the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2005), the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Italy (1998), the American Academy in Rome (1991), and at the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival (1982).

Mr. Wyner was a Professor at the Yale University School of Music from 1963-1977 where he also served as Chairman of the Composition faculty, and he became Dean of the Music Division at State University of New York, Purchase, in 1978, where he was a Professor for twelve years. A guest Professor at Cornell University in 1988, Mr. Wyner has also been a frequent Visiting Professor at Harvard University since 1991. From 1991-2005, he held the Walter W. Naumburg Chair of Composition at Brandeis University, where he is now Professor Emeritus.

Born in Western Canada, Yehudi Wyner grew up in New York City. He came into a musical family and was trained early as pianist and composer. His father, Lazar Weiner, was the preeminent composer of Yiddish Art Song as well as a notable creator of liturgical music for the modern synagogue. After graduating from the Juilliard School with a Diploma in piano, Yehudi Wyner went on to study at Yale and Harvard Universities with composers Paul Hindemith, Richard Donovan, and Walter Piston. In 1953, he won the Rome Prize in Composition enabling him to live for the next three years at the American Academy in Rome, composing, playing, and traveling.

Recordings of his music can be found on Naxos, Bridge, New World, Albany, Pro Arte, CRI, 4Tay, and Columbia Records.

Recent compositions include The Lord is close to the Heartbroken for chorus, harp and percussion (2012), commissioned by Soli Deo Gloria's psalms project; Give thanks for all things for Orchestra and Chorus (2010), commissioned by The Cantata Singers; Fragments from Antiquity for Soprano and Orchestra (rev 2011); Fantasy on B.A.C.H. for Piano (2010), commissioned by Wigmore Hall and Angela Hewitt; TRIO 2009, for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, commissioned by Chamber Music San Francisco for Lynn Harrell, Robert Levin and Richard Stoltzman.

Mr. Wyner's music is published by G. Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers, Inc. He is married to conductor and former soprano Susan Davenny Wyner.
(April 2012).


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